Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 14: Spinach Salad with Beef

Today we return to lunch, but first an apology for the picture above.  I've discovered that for the photos to come out well I need a lot of light, preferably from several directions.  In my kitchen the LEDs over the counter-tops handle this requirement really well, today however, I was hungry and forgot to take a photo until I was halfway through my meal.  The result is a shot taken hastily between bites, and the end result is the too harsh light of a flash that kinda takes away from the photo.  I'll try to work on this in the future, but be warned that it may crop up again later.

With that out of the way, on to the food.  As I'm sure you've noticed my lunches tend to be remixes of last night's leftovers and today was no different.  I went with a spinach salad (so I could at least pretend to be healthy) topped with the beef from two nights ago, a raspberry vinaigrette featuring my sauce and some pine nuts left over from when I made the pesto.  The result was something quick and easy (which is precisely what I wanted) as only the vinaigrette really required any work at all.

Like all vinaigrettes it started life as a small pool of extra virgin olive oil and Dijon mustard.  I added in some garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper (if I had thought about it properly I would have tossed in one of the roasted cloves from last night, but I was hungry...).  The rest was made up of raspberry vinegar that we had around the house and my raspberry sauce\syrup from Friday.  I introduced this mixture to my friend the whisk and together we stirred until properly combined and emulsified.  I gave it a quick taste and set it aside while I sliced the beef.

The spinach got a quick wash before tossing some of it into the bowl with the dressing.  Unfortunately this lead to the same problem I have almost every time I try to make a salad, over dressing.  I simply haven't found a good way to get the right amount of dressing on top that doesn't require another 3 dishes, pans or plates.  I think I need to make sure I put it in a bottle before trying to dress so I can get some better control.  I set the over dressed spinach down on a plate and quickly tossed some extra on top, after mixing the two piles together I got at least closer to the amount of dressing I wanted and decided to move on with the meal.

The beef went on top, with some pine nuts sprinkled around as well.  Then the salad went into my stomach.  I deemed it a success, although not a perfect one.  The dressing was good, had a tiny hint of sweetness and a hint of raspberry, but not nearly to the levels that I was hoping.  Several weeks ago I had a spinach salad appetizer with a truly amazing sweet vinaigrette on top and I've been working to reproduce it, this was just the latest attempt and while I'm closer, its not there yet.  I think this mixture needed a bit more of syrup\sauce and possibly some extra honey for even a bit more sweetness.  I'm also thinking of adding in some poppy seeds for my next trial in the hopes that they'll add another layer to it and get me one step closer to what I had before. 

And now I'm off to bed, tomorrow will be a restaurant commentary\review and then Wednesday it'll be back to some actual cooking.  I've got something specific in mind and hopefully it won't explode in my face.

Today's "Recipe"
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon raspberry syrup
garlic powder
onion powder
cooked new york strip steak
pine nuts

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